South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham threw something of a strop on the Senate floor on Sunday morning. The outburst earned him an immediate warning to behave himself.
Lawmakers have been thrashing it out over a range of big-spending Government bills in recent days. Graham was reacting to an amendment proposed by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan.
The Biden administration wants to introduce a 16.4-cent-a-barrel tax on imported petroleum and foreign oil products refined in the US. Lindsey believes this is wrong at a time of high gas prices and wanted to strike it from the Inflation Reduction Act.
He introduced an amendment that needed 50 votes to pass. It did not do so. Hassan and her Democratic colleagues voted against it.
Hassan then suggested a further amendment also striking the gas surcharge. However, her vote required 60 votes to pass (including at least ten Republicans). Graham voiced outraged, saying Hassan was simply playing politics with an eye to her reelection in November.
“This gives phony and cynical a bad name,” he said, disgusted. “They wouldn’t let you do this in professional wrestling. If you think people are this dumb, you’re going to be sadly mistaken.
“What she’s doing is trying to strike the provisions that she just voted against but it requires 60 votes, so she can vote for repealing a gas tax she just voted against so she’ll look good for the voters.
“If you really wanted to repeal the gas tax … you should have voted for my amendment,” Graham continued. “What you are doing is deceitful and it’s dishonest, and we’re going to call you out!”
Blasting Hassan as “deceitful” and “dishonest” earned Graham a rebuke from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
Murphy, as presiding officer, reminded Graham and everyone else not to “impute to another senator or other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming of a senator.”
“The senators are reminded to address each other through the chair and in the third person,” he said.
“Senators are reminded to address all remarks through the chair in the third person and to be mindful of Rule 19,” he said.
Rule 19 allows a presiding officer to “call to order” a senator who directly attacks or insults a fellow senator. Graham duly calmed down, avoiding Murphy from ordering him to take his seat.
Lindsey Graham weighs in on same-sex marriage
When not earning rare reprimands in the Senate, Graham made headlines yesterday for another reason. He weighed in on the same-sex marriage debate.
CNN asked Graham about the recent comments by Justice Clarence Thomas. The SCOTUS judge recently suggested the 2015 Obergefell ruling is looked at again.
Graham said he didn’t think the issue of same-sex marriage would be re-examined by the Supreme Court, but that marriage is something states should decide upon.
Lindsey Graham on CNN says that “I think states should decide the issue of marriage,” but when Dana Bash asks him if states should also decide whether interracial marriage is legal, he dismisses the question as a distraction from inflation pic.twitter.com/L1rGv6ZGBi
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 7, 2022
When pushed whether he then believes that states should similarly decide on interracial marriage, Graham avoided a direct answer. Instead, he said talking about such issues was a distraction.
“We’re talking about things that are not happening because you don’t want to talk about inflation, you don’t want to talk about crime,” he replied. “This is all politics, my friends … but if you’re going to ask me to have a federal government take over defining marriage, I’m going to say ‘no’.”